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AI raises disease alert


Hong Kong and Nanjing researchers cooperate to develop early warning platform for respiratory diseases.


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Nanjing Hanwei Public Health Research Institute have developed an AI early warning platform to more effectively prevent and treat respiratory infectious diseases.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) facilitated the collaboration efforts at the Jiangsu-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Roundtable in April last year, co-organised with the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Science and Technology in Hong Kong.

The event gave the Institute a better understanding of the AI ​​learning model developed by the PolyU team of Assistant Professor Pai Zheng of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and believed this technology brought innovation collaboration opportunities.

Following their initial meeting, the research institute signed an MoU with PolyU at the end of last year to jointly develop AI-based key technologies for early warning of upper respiratory tract infections.

The innovative full-stack project is at the cutting edge of AI-driven public health disease prevention and control. It solves the industry-wide problem of insufficient technical reserves for disease diagnosis and analysis as well as bringing early warnings. The system securely integrates multi-party medical data with privacy protection and improves the accuracy of disease early warning systems and decision-making by clinicians.

The system deploys innovative algorithm technology from the university, based on analysis of text, with a weighted machine-learning framework. The solution incorporates the early warning model developed by the Nanjing institute.

During the Roundtable, the Nanjing Hanwei Public Health Research Institute learned about the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Science and Technology’s Nanjing University Special Fund for Jiangsu-Hong Kong Science and Technology and Innovation Cooperation. The fund focuses on the innovation needs of key Jiangsu industries, such as biomedicine, advanced manufacturing, new materials and new energy. The fund promotes cross-border joint research and development as well as technology transfer and development between Jiangsu and Hong Kong.

In March, the Institute sought funding to further develop in diverse areas – digital food safety supervision, clinical research data science, precise diagnosis and treatment of tumour drugs, digital disease control comprehensive management and multi-point trigger early warning, along with forecasting.

If the application is successful, each project will receive additional funding of up to RMB1.2 million (US$166,000).

In April this year, the research institute made its debut appearance at the Jiangsu Pavilion at InnoEX, co-organised by the Hong Kong SAR Government and HKTDC. The province displayed its latest products and solutions and connected with local, mainland and international buyers who visited the fair, which totalled 88,000.

Nanjing Hanwei Public Health Research Institute was established in 2020 as an R&D institution in Nanjing, backed by Nanjing Medical University and Jianye High-tech Zone Management Committee.

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